Liberal arts majors could see a decline

Students nationwide might be erring on the side of practicality by straying away from liberal arts majors during the economic downturn, but that is not the case at UNC.

The American Political Science Association discussed the trend at their conference last week, but Sarah Treull, an adviser and a political science professor at UNC, confirmed that political science is still one the most popular majors at UNC.

Although some students focus more on job security during times of economic recessions, there is still value in the liberal arts major, she said.

“The truth is that majoring in liberal arts — political science specifically— will provide a student with the skills to succeed in any career,” Treul said. “Students who major in political science learn how to think critically, analyze arguments and data, and write.”

“These skills are essential to landing a job in most any field and applicale to a wide-range of careers.”

Some of these predictions don’t ring true, said Jeffrey Lantis, a political science professor at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

“Some believed that after September 11, 2001, there would be a massive increase in the number of students majoring in political science in order to try to make sense of chaotic events of the time,” Lantis said in an email. “That major increase did not occur.”

Others predicted students would gravitate away from the study of politics after the bitterly partisan period of the late 1990s, but that also did not materialize, Lantis said.

Jeff Sackaroff, associate director with University Career Services, said he encourages students in the political science field not to worry about future plans.

“Employees look for diversity of skills, not a specific major,” Sackaroff said. “Communication, teamwork, leadership — most UNC students embody these skills with whatever degree they focus on.”

Sackaroff said he advises against setting up a twenty-year career plan. “The average person has ten different job changes in a career,” Sackaroff said. “UNC Career Services focuses on having students look at a two-year plan.”


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